Ahoy Senor returned to winning ways at Wetherby with a taking success in the Grade Two William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old was last seen finishing second behind Bravemansgame in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, an experience trainer Lucinda Russell considers an essential part of his education and improved jumping.
Starting as the 8-11 favourite in a field of four, the bay made all of the running and galloped to a straightforward five-and-a-half-length victory over Noble Yeats under jockey Derek Fox.
“It’s brilliant, I’m glad we went to Kempton,” Russell said to Racing TV.
“I know we got beaten, but I saw a few things there about his jumping that I think we’ve managed to sort out.
“He was just getting sucked to the bottom of his fences a bit – rather than taking that long stride and being bold enough he was just chipping in and getting a bit tight.
“We did some stuff in the school, it’s so Pony Club but it does work. I think that helped him and Derek was full of confidence today. He’s a fantastic jockey and I’m just delighted that he’s riding him.
“I think a return to a galloping track like this has really suited him, but he’s just a lovely horse and to be creating something like this is just fantastic.
“He just has that ability to surge into the fences, I think he jumped the ditches really well, they’re just backing him off a bit and he needs these bigger fences to back him off.”
The Cheltenham Festival is next on the agenda for the seven-year-old, but Russell is yet to decide on a specific target as both novice and open company avenues are available to him.
“He’ll just go straight there, I don’t know if he’ll go for the Brown Advisory or he’ll go for the Gold Cup,” she said.
“I would suspect, if the trainer has her way, he’ll go for the Brown Advisory, but I’ll go speak to the owners, speak to my assistant, Scu (Peter Scudamore), and speak to Derek too and see what he thinks.
“He is a novice and he’s still learning, what you saw at Kempton is that he’s not the finished product. I’d like to think that this time next year we’ll have a really exciting horse – we do already.”